By Rebecca Jasulevicz
Traveling the world is a dream that many students are able to fulfill through studying abroad. Touring the Canadian Maritimes this summer left me awash with enthusiasm, and I learned a great amount in the process.
Two students from the Honors Program are chosen every year to attend a study abroad trip during the summer. I was chosen to attend with Alyssa Carpenter, a senior majoring in biotechnology.
Students are chosen from every PASSHE university, allowing a total of 28 students to share in the experience. This trip was hosted by Mansfield University.
“It was truly an amazing opportunity. Without the Honors Program scholarship, I probably would have never been able to study abroad. It was a lot of hard work, but worth being able to experience the different culture and the incredible geography of the area,” said Carpenter.
The two week long trip allowed us to visit beautiful landmarks and bustling cities while meeting new people and learning about the country’s history and culture.
Morgan Livingston, a student from Shippensburg University, said, “My favorite part of the trip, and also one of the most surprising things, was the opportunity to meet so many wonderful, welcoming people in Canada. It’s awesome to see how much you have in common with people from another country, even though you may have interesting differences as well.”
We also learned about the other students from Pennsylvania who attended the trip, and many of these people I would love to remain friends with for life.
Lauren Griffith, a student from the California University of Pennsylvania, said, “I was surprised by how close I got to everyone on the trip! Prior to the trip, I was looking forward to the experiences and different destinations. I hadn’t expected that I would blend so well with so many other students.”
Studying abroad allows students the opportunity to live in a new setting and learn about another country through firsthand experience. It tests not only your knowledge of the country you are studying in, but also what you know about yourself and your own culture.
Before going to Canada, even though it is only a short distance away, I thought that I already knew what it would be like. After spending time there and meeting people who live there, I realized that I knew less than I thought, and I questioned why we accomplish certain tasks differently.
“I found the trip to be very eye-opening. I never would have expected Canada to have so much to offer,” said Clarissa Potsubay, a student from Clarion University.
Exploring a new country instilled in me a sense of wanderlust, which I hope to act upon after graduating. There were many places that we discussed but were not able to see because of time constraints, and many we did visit, but I would also love to revisit in the future.
“I would go back again in a heartbeat, especially to explore some things we didn’t have enough time for, like the town of Lunenburg,” said Livingston.
The Institute for the International Education of Students (IES) surveyed students who studied abroad and found that those who study abroad are influenced by the experience for years after the trip’s conclusion, regardless of how long they had studied for or where they had gone.
“I learned to become a more knowledgeable, sustainable American. Also, I made some lifelong friends in a short time, which was awesome!” said Potsubay.
ESU students interested in studying abroad should drop by the Office of International Programs, located in Stroud 103.
ESU provides many programs that allow students to travel cheaply, and with a wide variety of countries and educational programs to choose from.
Using the university’s resources can be a great way to fulfill your dreams of learning about and living in another country.
In addition, studying abroad looks great on a resume. It teaches you how to deal with new situations and adapt to diverse circumstances.
Traveling to a country that predominantly speaks another language can set you apart from the competition when applying for jobs.
Overall, my experience showed me that I do have the courage to take risks and branch out, and I would love to go someplace more diverse in the future. It was an amazing experience and I am grateful that I was able to have the opportunity.
As Dr. Russ Dodson said several times throughout our trip, “All the world is not like Pennsylvania, and boy am I glad.”
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